losangelesnewstoday.com April 26, 2018

Three Britons killed in Grand Canyon tourist helicopter crash

15 February 2018, 05:47 | Maryann Sutton

Helicopter Crashes In The Grand Canyon With Seven On Board

At least three killed in Grand Canyon helicopter tour crash

A tourist helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon has killed three Britons, the Foreign Office has said.

The four survivors, including the pilot were airlifted to Nevada Hospital at about 2am Sunday, and remain in serious to critical conditions.

Six passengers and a pilot were on board the Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters chopper when it crashed into jagged rocks by the Grand Canyon's West Rim, according to the Associated Press.

The Hualapai Nation police chief Francis Bradley said rescue crews had to be flown in, walk to the crash site and use night-vision goggles to find their way around.

The company says it flies roughly 600,000 passengers a year on Grand Canyon and other tours.

NTSB investigators determined the probable cause of the 2001 crash was pilot error.

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The helicopter was on a tour of the canyon, one of the top U.S. tourist destinations and more than a mile deep, when it went down on Saturday at around 5.20pm. A report issued on the investigation of the crash said it is the pilot's operation of descending too fast and too close to the scenic cliffs that led to the tragedy.

"I got up about 6 o'clock; the sun was just starting to illuminate some of the clouds on the horizon and I'm looking at colors in the clouds and it's just incredibly quiet and it's just this extreme Zen experience", Rich Rudow, a Grand Canyon activist and explorer who has counted helicopter flights, told the Arizona Republic in a story about the helicopter noise.

Las Vegas photographer Teddy Fujimoto was shooting wedding photos at the time of Saturday's crash when he saw people running to the edge of a gulch. The Federal Aviation Administration also will be investigating the crash of the Eurocopter EC130, spokesman Allen Kenitzer said. He said one of them "was pretty much burned all over".

Its website reads: "at Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, safety is our top priority".

Witnesses were powerless to help those involved in the accident as the helicopter, operated by a tour company, came down 600ft down inside the canyon. National Weather Service meteorologists in Flagstaff and Phoenix said wind conditions were an estimated 16 kilometres per hour with gusts of 32 kilometres per hour around the time of the crash.

The company's CEO released a statement following the fatal crash.

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